A-level winners give Richard a golden goodbye

A-level high achievers at Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull. From left: Harriet van den Tooren, Guy Richardson, Roanna Craven and Megan Ollerhead, all 18. Picture: Terry Carrott
A-level high achievers at Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull. From left: Harriet van den Tooren, Guy Richardson, Roanna Craven and Megan Ollerhead, all 18. Picture: Terry Carrott
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A COLLEGE boss who retires next month after 30 years in education has paid tribute to his students for delivering best-ever A-level grades.

Students at Wyke College sixth form, in Hull, secured 100 per cent pass rates in 34 subjects and while almost half of the passes achieved were in the higher grades of A*, A or B.

At AS level sat by 17-year-olds in their first year of sixth form the pass rate was 89.4 per cent - a 5.3 per cent improvement on 2010.

Principal Richard Smith said: “This is the last set of results I have the privilege of celebrating here at Wyke as I am leaving in September – and I am delighted to be able to leave amid such success.

Between the ages of 16 and 18 young people are fully exploring their own lasting potential. It is wonderful to be able to work with them at this time in their lives and I shall miss it. I wish all this year’s students the very best for their future and I know that Wyke Sixth Form College will go on providing the best possible education to the widest range of young people. It has consistently shown what can be done in the city. It is an engine of confidence and achievement for the future. I think the financial challenge is greater but in the end the value is still there; if you learn, you develop, you become a more capable human being, you do better in every aspect of your life economically and otherwise.”

Asked about the perennial claims that exams are getting easier, he said: “I would say people can come and have a go themselves. We are very willing for them to take A-level exams - they would not find them easy.” Out of just under 1000 subjects taken, just seven were fails.

Wyke College student Roanna Craven, who got “super grade” A*s in biology and mathematics, as well as an A in chemistry and B in general studies, will now read medicine at Manchester.

She said: “I’m in shock, I can’t believe it. I have always wanted to be a doctor, I’m a step closer now.”

The 18-year-old from Chanterlands Avenue in the city, said the college kept telling students not to take a gap year because of the rise in tuition fees, but that wouldn’t have been put her off from pursuing her chosen career.

Nor was she daunted by the prospect of high graduate unemployment: “From our point of view we are just looking to going to university. Whatever happens is three years away and we are not worrying about that now.”

Guy Richardson, also from Wyke, surprised himself by scooping three A*s in English Literature, history, and general studies with 100 per cent in English, and two As in Spanish and German. He is considering a career in law after studying modern languages at Edinburgh University. Finances - although tuition fees are lower in Scotland - meant he didn’t take a gap year. He said: “I think it is so hard to get a job even if you have a really good degree and good qualifications. There are just no jobs out there. I hope it will clear up by the time I have graduated - that’s all I can say.”

Megan Ollerhead, from west Hull, gained A*s in English Literature and music, as well as an A* for an extended project, and three other As at A-level, having joined the sixth form at Wyke College from Hull Collegiate. The 18-year-old will now read English Literature at York. She said there had been a lot of pressure to get in this year, before the fees hike.

Her relieved Mum Alison said: “She’s worked very hard and deserves good results.”

Mrs Ollerhead, who has a 13-year-old daughter, admitted the prospect of higher tuition fees was daunting: “If she didn’t get into her choice she was talking about trying again and I was a bit nervous. “Wyke has been perfect for her, it has nurtured her academically and socially - it has been a great experience for her. She added: “I think the level of debt psychologically weighs on them whatever the Government says.

“I have a 13-year-old daughter and I’m hoping that by the time she’s 18 it will have sorted itself out.”